The German Blue Ram, scientifically known as Mikrogeophagus ramirezi belongs to the cichlids family. This species has some other names which refer to its beautiful coloration, and they include Electric Blue Ram or Butterfly Cichlids. They are small colorful cichlids that are suited for a peaceful community tank. They require strict water parameters, and therefore they may not be the best fish for a beginner. However, they are very interesting species, and within no time, they will steal your heart. It is a rewarding fish all the way from breeding to feeding. Cichlids are often thought to be aggressive, but for the German Blue rams, it is a different case. They are regarded as the best cichlids due to their peaceful nature and beautiful colors. They are common in the aquarium trade, and they can easily be found in pet stores. The average cost of these pets is 7 to 8 dollars. If you are an aspiring aquarist who is interested in knowing more about the German Blue Ram or an experienced one who wants to enhance their knowledge ten this guide will give you detailed information about the care of this fish.
|Scientific Name||Mikrogeophagus ramirezi|
|Color||Yellow, blue, and white|
|Freshwater or Saltwater||Freshwater|
|Lifespan||2 to 4 years|
|Temperature||82 to 86 degrees F|
|Water conditions||PH between 6.0 to 7.5 and hardness between 2 to 6 GH|
|Tank companions||Peaceful small fish|
As stated earlier, the German Blue Rams are social and community fish. They thrive best when kept in a community tank together with other species as long as they are peaceful. Before you can make the decision on which species to choose as the tank mate for your Blue ram cichlids, ensure that you put the following factors into consideration;
- Is that fish a peaceful community fish?
- Can the fish handle the high temperatures in the tank?
If you are able to answer both questions, Yes, then you can go ahead and pick it as the tank mate, but as long as there is a no answer, you should avoid it as a tank mate. Some of the ideal tank mates include;
- Common pleco
- Clown Loaches
- Neon Tetras
- Silver Dollars
However, there are some of the tank mates that are not compatible with the Blue Rams, and this might be due to their aggressive behavior or any other factor. They include;
- Green Terror
- Flower horn Cichlids
If you find that your fish is showing some signs of aggression, it might be due to a lack of nutrients or are in the breeding season. You should be very keen to notice these signs. If you notice that they have them, you should shift them into a breeding tank.
German Blue Ram appearance is the prime factor that draws a lot of attention to potential owners. It has some bright colors and patterns that are quite spectaculars. You will often see a mix of blue, yellow, and orange all over the body. However, yellow is the dominant color on the front, while blue is the dominant one on the back in most cases. This can vary sometimes. There are some species that are more yellow on the front and back thirds of the body, with some dark blue towards the middle. One of the unique and noticeable characteristics when it comes to vibrant colors is the vertical black line that runs across their face over their eyes. This bad is usually thick and cannot be missed, and it gives them a bandit look.
This fish also has some very dark blue or black patches from the front of the dorsal fin and the middle of its body. These are also rather large and will usually match the color of the band over their eye. These fish will not have these black patches on the half of their body back side. This area will instead be pristine and unassuming compared to all the action that is proceeding on the front. There will in some instances be some spots on their fins, except on the ventral fin. In most cases, they are either yellow or bright blue, and this depends on the dominant colors of the individual fish.
The German Blue Ram has a classic fin shape that you can always expect from the cichlids. Despite the fact that they are smaller, they have the same dorsal fin and a wide, even caudal fin.
LIFESPAN OF BLUE RAM
The lifespan of this species depends on how well they have been taken care of. An individual that lives in the wild will in most cases have a longer lifespan than the one living in captivity under suboptimal conditions. They are among the shortest living aquarium species with an average lifespan of 2 to 4 years. This does not mean there are no individuals that have lived beyond the limit, there are some, but they are extremely rare. If you want to maximize the lifespan of your Blue Ram, ensure all the tank requirements and diets are observed, and they will lice a healthy and long life.
ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
The German Blue Ram is a tropical freshwater fish that originates from water bodies of Venezuela and Columbia. They are found throughout the Orinoco River basin, where they live in flooded savannas filled with rivers, lagoons, and marshes. This region is also fed with very thick vegetation that provides a lot of shade to them so as to protect them from predators. Their natural habitat has a very low Ph. Which makes it extremely difficult for other fish species to live in. They are therefore used to acidic waters, and they can live much easier than the other species in the same environment.
This fish is known to pose a personality that every other species from the cichlid family wishes they had. They are constantly exploring their environment and getting into trouble around the tank which makes them very enjoyable to watch. They are also very easy-going species, and this makes them a great addition to any community aquarium. This species is also known for being very peaceful, and they can live with different types of community fish with no issues at all.
This fish does best in an aquarium with plenty of rocks and roots so they can explore and provide the hiding spots. They also do well with many different types of tropical community fish. When this fish is added to the aquarium, they usually become shy and stay hidden for a few days while they adjust the new tank. Due to their peaceful nature, they are generally considered community fish because they can be kept with any other fish as long as you make sure that both Ram and the other species of fish are compatible with each other.
GERMAN BLUE RAM SIZE
In the wild, this fish species can grow up to 4 inches long over time which is quite long for a freshwater Cichlid. In captivity, they grow to a maximum length of 3 inches which is not too big, but it still makes this species a great size for community aquariums.
BLUE RAM CARE AND TANK SET UP
Before bringing the German Blue Ram home, you must ensure that the tank is ready and all the required conditions have been met so as to give the fish the best care in captivity. Some of the beginners are not aware of the required conditions, such as water parameters, and that is where they get it wrong. These species should be kept at higher temperatures with some plants, ferns, and substrate in the tank. This section will discuss all the different parameters that you should provide to your Blue Ram.
THE TANK SIZE
The minimum size of the tank for keeping these species is 20 gallons, and this should be increased as you increase the number of fish in the aquarium so as to ensure it is not overcrowded. However, the Blue Rams need pristine air quality, and they thrive well when there is ample water to swim across one part of the aquarium to another. If you are intent on keeping more than one Blue Ram in the same tank, then the ideal size should be at least 30 gallons tank. If you are keeping more than one male in the same tank, the size should be at least 40 gallons because the males are large, and if you keep them in a bigger tank, it would be safe for them as it would prevent the scope of fighting.
The ideal tank shape should have a wider surface area at the bottom. The Blue Rams loves dwelling at the bottom and they like digging in the sand. If there is sufficient space for every fish in the tank, there would be less fights at the bottom section of the tank.
The German Blue Ram is very sensitive to changes in water parameters. They are very prone to diseases as a result of a change in parameters such as ammonia and nitrite spikes. Therefore it is in the best interns to provide enough filtration to dispose of the fish water properly. The filtration process ensures that the ammonia does not build up in the water. We would recommend you uses a filter that has a lot of space for biological filter media. A filter such as Seachem Tidal or Aqua clear power is one of the examples of the filter with a lot of room for filtering out the biological waste.
The best material for the Blue Ram substrate is sand. They are bottom-dwelling fish that like digging in the sand. Their natural habitat is mostly found in shallow water where the sand bed is present. This is because they can dis in the sand just like they do in the wild. You can also use gravel or soil from any aquatic plant. You can use these along with the sand, but sand should be the primary substrate.
If you choose to use sand as your substrate, ensure that you avoid aragonite sand which is also known as cichlids sand. This is because it is made of calcium carbonate, which will constantly leach minerals into the water. This will have an impact on the balance of water parameters. It will increase the carbonate hardness, general hardness, and PH value. Therefore, it would be better to use inert sand that would not impact water chemistry.
It is important to always use a tank lid in protecting the water and also protecting your fish from external threats such as children and pet dogs.
It is important to ensure that your tank is always clean, and this should be done on a monthly basis. This helps to ensure the environment is clans, and your fish remains healthy. You should not use a strong chemical or soap-based product to clean the tank because the soap residue may remain in the tank wall, and this can be harmful to your fish. Simply take lukewarm water and use it to wipe off the interior wall of the tank using a soft cloth. On the substrate side, you can use a siphon to vacuum it, and the rest of the ornament can be put under running water to clean them. You should also scrap the algae as much as possible.
The water parameters for the German Blue Ram should imitate the conditions in their natural habitat. They live in cold water rather than ice cold none, and therefore tank water should be warm. You should ensure the temperatures are always high, and therefore you will need a thermometer and a heater in your tank so as to always monitor these conditions. Also, these species do not tolerate nitrate and ammonia components, and therefore, you should ensure the ph. The level is always balanced in the tank.
It is also important to be aware of the type of water that you should use in the fish tank. The regular water tap can be used if it does not have a high concentration of chlorine or iron. You can also use distilled water which is free from all these components.
The temperatures of the water in the tank should be maintained at a range of 78 to 85 degrees F. There are some heaters that come with a reading temperature facility, but if yours does not have, then you can buy one and submerge it for monitoring.
The ph. level of the water should range between 6.0 to 7.5. The blue Ram is tropical fish, and therefore acidity in the tank can be harmful to them. Always use a Ph. indicator to learn about the PH level of water you are putting in the tank.
The average water hardness should be between 6 to 14 GH, while the carbonate hardness should be 3 TO 5 dGH.
The Blue Rams are delicate species. If the waste produced by the fish and the leftover food is not cleaned on a regular basis, then it can lead to an increase in ammonia in the tank. This is very toxic, and it can really kill them. It is therefore important that you install a good filter in the tank.
The Blue Rams are natives of slow-moving waters. They do not like being put in a tank with super-strong water flow. A slower current is the ideal one for these species since they will not have to wear themselves as they try to fight it constantly.
Note that if you are trying to balance water flow and filtration, consider adding an air-driven sponge filter.
WATER REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE
As we have discussed in the previous subheading, the rise in ammonia levels in the tank can be fatal to your fish. One of the major causes of this problem is not changing the eater on a regular basis. Therefore, as an aquarist, you need to pick one schedule for changing the water in your tank so as to avoid this situation. It is important to note that you can only pick one schedule and remain consistent with it since too regular changing or changing it in its entirety will kill the beneficial bacteria that are needed to break down ammonia into nitrite, which then turns into nitrate. The schedules include
- Replace 10 percent of the water every week
- Replace 20m percent of water after every 15 days
- Replace 40 percent of the water on a monthly basis
In matters of decoration, the interior of an aquarium and creating a landscape is important to have the natural habitat in mind. Whenever they are in home aquarium they usually have specific needs in terms of plants and decorations. The tank should have some water vegetation and should also have ample free space for swimming.
BEST PLANTS FOR GERMAN BLUE RAM C
This species is found in densely vegetative areas of the Amazon River. Therefore they are more familiar with aquatic vegetation. It is therefore important to include some of the aquatic plants in the tank. You can include plants such as;
- Rosette plant
- Java fern
- Jungle Vallis
- Amazon Sword plant
- Water Wisteria
- Stem Aquarium Plant
These plants should be planted in the front and back areas of the aquarium. The middle area should be left open.
You should avoid plants that do not survive in high temperatures. You should also avoid the floating plants since they freely float on the water surface and hinder the oxygen requirement of the fish.
The German Blue Ram need caves to hide whenever they feel threatened from outside or by the other fish in the tank. You can construct a cave with some rocks and make a hidden hole for them. You can also use some driftwood and rocks to make the hiding place for them.
The lighting of this fish species should be moderate to low since it will mimic its natural environment.
GERMAN BLUE RAM DIET
In their natural habits, these species are opportunistic omnivores which means they eat whatever is readily available to them, whether plant-based or fresh-based. They include insects, larvae, and pieces of fruits found on the water surface. Since they are naturally omnivores, it does not mean that you must feed them an omnivore diet in captivity.
If you want your Blue Rams to be healthy and happy, you need to feed them on a varied diet that contains proteins and vegetables. This can easily be done by feeding your fish some small spawns or earthworms. This should be done once after every 2 to 3 days to ensure they receive all the vitamins and minerals they need. On the other hand, you can be feeding them on a varied diet that consists of vegetables, pellets, and algae every day to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.
The German Blue Ram is a messy eater, and this will only get worse if they are not fed more often. This means that the tank needs to be regularly cleaned so as to keep it healthy and clean for your fish. There is no need to feed them more than two times a day. The feeding schedule will be determined by how often you clan your tank to keep it free from all the uneaten food and other debris.
It is not possible to determine the gender of the German Blue Ram in their early stages, but there are many physical differences between the male and female when they become adults. The males are more colorful compared to females, with their blue stripe being darker than the rest of the body. Also, the males grow up to around 6 to 7 inches in length while the females grow to about 4 to 5 inches long.
The most common difference is that the dorsal fin of the adult male tends to stretch out further than that of the female. Even their anal fins are longer in general.
BREEDING GERMAN BLUE RAMS
The process of breeding this species can be amazing to watch and experience. Watching them through the process of spawning all the way to raising the fry is an amazing experience that is only supplemented by their beauty. They can be a bit difficult to breed compared to the other cichlids, you just need to put in an extra effort, and the process will be successful.
The process of getting a breeding partner is among the most difficult ones in the whole breeding process. It is hard to sex them accurately, but this is just the beginning. Even if you can pick a random male and female and put them together, they still may not form a breeding pair. These fish are very picky, and they may never reproduce. In order to guarantee to breed, it is recommended that you purchase 6 to 8 juvenile Rams and raise them to maturity. They have a fast growth rate, and they will reach maturity in a short duration. In this method, you need a tank of at least 30 gallons since you will end up with more than one pair. As the juveniles grow, you will notice pairs breaking from the group and isolating themselves, and at this point, you can remove that pair from the tank and isolate them to form a breeding pair.
Now that you have already established breeding pairs, you need to set up an environment that will encourage spawning. These species are more likely to spawn in soft water. You should also increase the water temperature to 82 degrees F and always ensure the water is pristine and free of nitrites. Also, ensure you avoid sticking your hand in the tank and causing commotion since a stressed Rams will never spawn.
You should also ensure that you provide a suitable place for the rams to lay eggs. They prefer tall, flat, vertically placed rock to lay their eggs. Other pairs prefer to lay their eggs on the leaves or patches of gravel and therefore ensure you provide all these so as they can have a variety to choose from. When they are ready to spawn, you will notice your Blue Rams cleaning the vertical rock slate in preparation to lay eggs. The belly of the female will grow brighter, and they may show increased aggression. They lay 150 to 200 eggs, and if it is their first time, they may lay as low as 20 eggs.
It will take 3 to 5 days for these eggs to hatch. The newly hatched Rams will stay at eth bottom of the tank for 3 to 5 days until they are able to swim. It is crucial to leave the pair with their young ones since they make great parents. However, if you notice they have eaten their first few fries, do not worry since it is normal.
Feeding these young ones is challenging despite the fact that they can survive in the tank for a few days without special food prepared. One of the easiest food to feed these fries is powdered egg York. It can be bought from online stores. You need to mix this powdered egg York with water and use an eyedropper to squirt it into the fry school. Once they have grown into juveniles, you should b able to feed them with baby brine shrimp.
GERMAN BLUE RAM DISEASES
These species are prone to the usual tropical fish diseases. These diseases may be a result of getting stressed by poor water quality, inadequate oxygen, or lack of enough hiding places. Extended periods of stress is what causes these diseases since it affects their immune system.
This is the first and common disease that affects freshwater fish.
This fish is prone to tuberculosis. This disease is passable to human beings, and therefore it is important to seek medical attention immediately you notice the Blue Ram getting slimmer or developing any ulcer in the eye or head. As you move them to different tanks, you should use gloves and ensure there is no direct contact with water.
Other diseases include;
- Turbidity of skin
- Costia disease
- Cestoda infestation (Tapeworms)
- Metacercaria infection (Flatworms)
Are German Blue Rams Freshwater fish?
Yes, they are freshwater fish that originates from the Amazon River basin in South America. They prefer living in warm water that is slow-moving and with dense vegetation.
Can Blue Ram Live Alone?
These fish are communal fish, unlike the rest of the cichlids. However, if you have a small tank, you can keep them alone. They will spend most of their time swimming and hiding in caves.
Why are Blue Rams Fighting?
They show dominance by fighting with similar species. If you keep more than one male in the same tank, there is a high possibility of fights for dominance. To prevent this, you can swap them with a female Ram or put them in a different tank.
Are Blue Ram Difficult to keep?
No, they are not hard to keep since they are peaceful fish. However, they are sensitive, and this means you need to be careful about the water parameters. They are also sensitive to tank conditions and prone to diseases; therefore, ensure the tank is always clean.
Are German Blue Rams schooling fish?
Despite the fact that the male and female adults prefer living in separate corners of the tank, they can be taught to swim in a straight line when food is thrown in the water to feed them.
German Blue Ram is one of the fascinating species among the smallest freshwater fish you can have a pet. They are intolerant to changes in their environment, and therefore you need to be very careful with them. When it comes to breeding them, it is easy. Their peaceful nature helps them blend well with other small species that are peaceful too. We hope this guide has shown you how wonderful this species is. As an aquarist who is interested in a small freshwater fish that is peaceful and colorful, then this is the ideal choice.